Giannis Fetfatzidis scored in the 63rd minute, taking advantage of a defensive miscue, to give Greece a 1-0 win over Canada in exhibition soccer play Wednesday in Larissa.
Defender Adam Straith misplayed a cross right into the path of the diminutive midfielder who hammered the ball into the top corner with his left foot.
Canada came on in the dying minutes but was unable to pull even before a near sellout crowd at the AEL FC Arena. And then with Canada pressing and goalkeeper Milan Borjan up in the offensive zone, the Greeks almost scored into the empty net from just inside the Canadian half — only to have the ball roll just wide of the post.
Dwayne De Rosario came close to tying it in the 74th minute, forcing veteran Greek 'keeper Costas Chalkias to tip a long-range free kick over the bar. Rob Friend headed a corner just wide in the 87th minute.
After an even first 45 minutes, the Greeks came on in waves in the second half and had several good scoring opportunities before the goal came.
Canadian coach Stephen Hart was disappointed at the result.
"I felt we were in control of the game for long periods of time," Hart said.
"In the second half we lost our way a little bit in the opening 10 or 12 minutes, and just as we were making the substitution to try and adjust they scored off an unfortunate error.
"The last 15 minutes we played ourselves right back into the game, we created some chances and on another day we might have come away with a draw away from home."
De Rosario also felt that Canada deserved more from the game, but he was unwilling to pin the blame for the defeat on Straith's mistake.
"We all made mistakes," he said. "They made mistakes, too, that we should have punished them on.
Added Hart: "It was a brand new backline that we had and I didn't want them to feel that I didn't have any confidence in them.
"The young players have to play, it could have been a qualifier."
Greece, the former European champion, is ranked 10th in the world compared to No. 80 for Canada.
"We're a young team and it will take us some time to gel," Greece defender Giorgos Tzavelas said. "But we showed some cohesion tonight and we're getting better with each game."
Midfielder Atiba Hutchinson captained Canada for the first time at the senior level. Panathinaikos FC midfielder Georgios Karagounis wore the armband for Greece.
Canada dodged a bullet in the 48th minute when substitute Kostantinos Mitroglou got around Borjan and raked a cross back that just missed a Greek teammate.
In the 56th, Borjan had to stop another Mitroglou rush.
Borjan, who won his first cap for Canada, started for the injured Lars Hirschfeld (knee).
The 23-year-old Borjan, who plays his club soccer for FK Rad in Serbia, is eligible to play for Canada as a result of the time he spent in the country after his family was forced to flee Croatia during the Yugoslav wars.
"Milan stepped in in a very difficult situation," said Hart. "He proved his worth and I think he can only grow from that."
Borjan relished his first opportunity to represent the national team.
"I feel really good, it's a good experience to play for Canada," he said.
"It was a pleasure playing. We didn't have the luck, we lost 1-0, but what can you do? We'll try and go on and try and make a World Cup."
The 'keeper, who is also eligible for Croatia and Serbia as a result of his heritage, officially declared that he intended to represent Canada in the future.
"My future is with Canada, as long as the coach calls me for the games I will always come. I'm now Canadian.
Hart continued with his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
De Rosario was deployed as an advanced midfielder with wingers Simeon Jackson and Josh Simpson accompanying centre forward Olivier Occean.
Defender David Edgar and midfielder Tosaint Ricketts came on in the second half to win their first Canadian caps
Canada's next game is scheduled for March 29, with the opponent and European location yet to be announced.